It’s time we stop using the Biblical Word to exclude people who have been called – gifted, inspirited, and empowered – to serve God. Though the English translation has been used to silence women in the church, a quick study of the Biblical text shows that God has always called women to lead the faithful. We cannot hide behind faulty translations; we must proclaim the good news of great joy in Jesus Christ, that all people are called, empowered with wisdom, and instructed to be found mature in the Lord.
Sometimes, God doesn’t want us to wait; sometimes God shows up when it’s not convenient or helpful for us; sometimes God doesn’t give us time to find a way out; sometimes, God just wants us to respond as faithful stewards so that the love of God may be made known.
Achsah is a little known woman, who was given as a spoil of war by her father to be the wife of her uncle. Yet, even in a world where she was wanted only for her beauty, she persisted to stand up for herself that she could share in the care of God’s creation.
Women aren’t tertiary to the Biblical story, they were significant leaders, who at times were called by God to places of leadership to ensure the future for the people of God. Esther is one such woman, who, though given into a palace harem by her legal guardian, persisted against all expectations to lead the people of God in faithfulness.
While many will claim men as the sole representatives of faithful leading, we must claim and tell the stories of the women who have come before us and declare their witness as models, as mentors, and as leaders who have exemplified faithfulness in God’s continuing work for justice.
Women have been neglected by society, left out of our historical narrative, and have been given little more than tertiary roles. Sadly, the Church has also limited the role of women, ignoring the Biblical stories of women in leadership. Yet, many women of faith have persisted in following God, even when it meant speaking out, standing up, and risking their lives amidst a patriarchal hierarchy. Miriam offers us such an example.
Too often, we use the excuse that we’re just too “busy” to love our neighbors. But how we allocate our time should reflect our commitment to the Great Commandment, which calls us to love our neighbor.